People came face-to-face with a leopard as it entered the bird hide while they were walking down a narrow path.
56-year-old doula Natasha Bennett and 48-year-old business owner Anton Van Zyl both had separate encounters with this leopard and shared them with LatestSightings.com.
These encounters serve as cautionary tales, highlighting the importance of respecting wildlife and practicing caution in their presence.
Anton van Zyl’s Experience:
Anton, a self-employed nature enthusiast, set out on his last morning in the park, with his wife, Jenny, and their daughter, Ashleigh, hoping to catch a glimpse of Jenny’s favorite animal, the leopard. They followed a route known for recent leopard sightings and made their way to a hide. As they entered the hide, Anton jokingly remarked on the ease with which a leopard or any other animal could access the area due to the surrounding branches.
The family settled in the hide, observing hippos on the opposite side of the water. When they decided it was time to head back, Anton went ahead to use the restroom half way down the walkway to the hide, while Jenny and Ashleigh remained behind for one last view. As Anton went down the stairs, he saw a leopard sitting on the path, just around the corner. A moment of surprise for both leopard and human as Anton stood frozen, remembering the advice never to run. The leopard hissed, displaying its massive teeth, before going back a few steps. Anton called for his wife and daughter, and she arrived just in time to witness the leopard on the other side of the fence.
Natasha Bennett’s Experience:
Leopard enters bird hide and follows this lady back to her car!
Natasha found herself alone at the hide during her visit to the park. As she rounded the slight corner towards the bathrooms, she came face to face with a leopard, mere feet away. Both Natasha and the leopard froze, locking eyes in shock.
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With adrenaline running through her veins, Natasha decided to back away slowly, realizing that standing still might not be the safest option. The leopard followed her with curiosity as she slowly moved back around the corner. The leopard crouched just around the corner, watching her, before eventually disappearing back from where it came. She did manage to snap a quick photo of the leopard once she was at a safe distance behind the hide entrance gate.
These incredible encounters remind us to be cautious and respectful when we enter the natural habitat of wild animals. Ratlhogo Hide, known for its stunning wildlife views, can also be a place of unexpected danger. It’s important for visitors to stay alert and pay attention to their surroundings, especially when they leave their vehicles or go inside the hide.
Anton and Natasha’s experiences should serve as a warning to future visitors to Ratlhogo Hide. It’s crucial not to underestimate the potential risks and to avoid actively seeking out encounters with wild animals. If you find yourself unexpectedly face-to-face with a leopard, the best thing to do is stay calm and not run.